And went out of the lattice which I left 195
Half open for it, trailing its quaint spires
Along the garden and across the lawn,
And down the slope of moss and through the tufts
Of wild-flower roots, and stumps of trees o’ergrown
With simple lichens, and old hoary stones, 200
On to the margin of the glassy pool,
Even to a nook of unblown violets
And lilies-of-the-valley yet unborn,
Under a pine with ivy overgrown.
And theme its fruit lay like a sleeping lizard 205
Under the shadows; but when Spring indeed
Came to unswathe her infants, and the lilies
Peeped from their bright green masks to wonder at
This shape of autumn couched in their recess,
Then it dilated, and it grew until 210
One half lay floating on the fountain wave,
Whose pulse, elapsed in unlike sympathies,
Among the snowy water-lily buds.
Its shape was such as summer melody 215
Of the south wind in spicy vales might give
To some light cloud bound from the golden dawn
To fairy isles of evening, and it seemed
In hue and form that it had been a mirror
Of all the hues and forms around it and 220
Upon it pictured by the sunny beams
Which, from the bright vibrations of the pool,
Were thrown upon the rafters and the roof
Of boughs and leaves, and on the pillared stems
Of the dark sylvan temple, and reflections 225
Of every infant flower and star of moss
And veined leaf in the azure odorous air.
And thus it lay in the Elysian calm
Of its own beauty, floating on the line
Which, like a film in purest space, divided 230
The heaven beneath the water from the heaven
Above the clouds; and every day I went
Watching its growth and wondering;
And as the day grew hot, methought I saw
A glassy vapour dancing on the pool, 235
And on it little quaint and filmy shapes.
With dizzy motion, wheel and rise and fall,
Like clouds of gnats with perfect lineaments.
O friend, sleep was a veil uplift from Heaven—
As if Heaven dawned upon the world of dream— 240
When darkness rose on the extinguished day
Out of the eastern wilderness.
Have found a moment’s paradise in sleep
Half compensate a hell of waking sorrow.
["Charles the First” was designed in 1818, begun towards the close of 1819 [Medwin, “Life”, 2 page 62], resumed in January, and finally laid aside by June, 1822. It was published in part in the “Posthumous Poems”, 1824, and printed, in its present form (with the addition of some 530 lines), by Mr. W.M. Rossetti, 1870. Further particulars are given in the Editor’s Notes at the end of Volume 3.]